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One Jew's News and Views

Last Build Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2002 01:20:46 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2002 Larry Yudelson

Love in the Blogosphere: A Modest Proposal (The Spoon Experience)
A heartwarming tale of links and love

"It was just a few short months ago that a reader sent me an e-mail that changed my life forever...."

It's a Smallville World: There's No Place to Hide (Wired News)
The next word in security is a system so thorough that it will reveal even the contents of a cigarette pack hidden in your coat pocket.

Developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the scanner uses holographic imaging technology to provide full-body, 360-degree coverage of a person in near real time.

Prison States of America: 1 of Every 32 Adults Now in Prison or On Supervision (
A new report from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics was released this afternoon.Probation and Parole in the United States, 2001 has some disturbing figures.

The ever-increasing prison and correctional population in the U.S. reached 6.6 million at the end of 2001.

Where No Hobbit Has Gone Before: Leonard Nimoy sings Bilbo Baggins (National Lampoon)
Too weird for words.

Back in the Byline: Kosher Groups Getting a Break in McDonald's Suit (Larry Yudelson in the Forward)
Jewish groups that normally discourage their followers from eating at McDonald's will nevertheless share in a provisional class-action settlement over the discovery that the fast-food giant's "100% vegetable oil" french fries had been routinely flavored with beef.

Call it fair play or chutzpah, but the Orthodox Union, the Baltimore-based Star-K kosher certification laboratories and the Conservative movement's National Ramah Commission will likely split $1 million of the $12 million settlement, according to Corey Fein, a lawyer working on the case.

The settlement, rather than attempting to compensate the estimated 16 million customers who may have felt aggrieved, sets aside funds for Hindu, vegetarian and Jewish organizations representing their presumed values. The deal is to come before a Chicago judge on August 22.

French Fry Ruminations
An annotated guide to Web resources related to the French fries story. -- Stim (!) on a secret history of fries - Why McD Fries taste so good -- the Atlantic excerpt from Fast Food Nation that started the suit - asking for FDA to regulate origin of "natural" ingredients. - copy of original Boston Globe article, May 2001 - asking paeople to opt out - burgers and fries under a microscope - Seatle Times early story

BBC.  US INS to fingerprint and photograph visitors from Iran, Sudan, Iraq, and Syria.  Given that the attackers were Saudis and Egyptians, this makes no sense. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

Letter from Jerusalem: Yehuda Mirsky writes to Glenn Reynolds (InstaPundit)
"...And one more thing that makes me tired and angry, that like a nice Jewish boy I go on praying for peace not only for the Jews but for the Arabs too, while they keep praying to my God to kill me."

Why I Don't Trust the Dept. of Justice with my Civil Liberities -- or my Homeland's Security In A Failure to Communicate, Joshua Michael Marshall examines what needs to be done to make the nation's intelligence and counterterrorism agencies effective in the war on terror. He concludes: "Intelligence and counterterrorism reform require leadership and action. But if the last 10 months are any example, don't expect them from the Bush White House." Southknoxbubba reminds us that "A little over one month after the 9/11 attacks, the FBI couldn't be bothered to return phone calls regarding a pretty suspicious character. Not only did he have a lot of questionable ID, he actually violated Federal laws by performing an illegal "structured transaction" to avoid filing of a Currency Transaction Report as required by the Bank Secrecy Act, which is designed to catch terrorists and drug dealers and guys like this moving large sums of cash around. If the transfers were legitimate, why did he break them down to fly under the $10,000 cash transaction limit radar? Of course, the FBI couldn't be bothered with investigating this either." Meanwhile, the FBI proudly announces This joint investigation, codename "OPERATION WHITE SPIDER", determined that owners and operators of Korean massage parlors, health studios, and modeling studios used their businesses as a front for illegal activities to include prostitution. These businesses, operating in several communities throughout east Tennessee, generated millions of dollars in illegal proceeds. It is alleged that this network of owners and operators worked together to conceal this activity from law enforcement. It is further alleged that members of the network engaged in the bribery of public officials in attempts to protect their businesses. Members of the network were unaware that the officials they had approached had contacted law enforcement and were assisting in the investigation. "As we continue our global war against terrorism", said Clark, "it is crucial that the FBI, in partnership with local law enforcement, continues to address this type of criminal activity that has such a negative effect on our communities in east Tennessee. These businesses operated in our back yards, in our shopping centers, and near our schools. Our investigation determined that this activity not only affects neighborhoods in east Tennessee, but neighborhoods in many communities across the nation." However, when it comes to taking advantage of a hacked Al-Queda web site,, the Bureau was less pro-active "It literally took me 5 days to reach anyone in the FBI that had an even elementary grasp of the Internet. By that time, the hostiles realized the site I had up was a decoy and then advised everyone away from it. I still gave the FBI all the log information and link information to the hostile boards and whatnot, but it's far from what could have potentially been done if they would have acted more quickly." And similarly, "A man who allegedly sold fake IDs to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers apparently fled the country for Egypt just before authorities came to arrest him in a raid on his home and businesses Wednesday, investigators said. "Wednesday's raids followed a four-month investigation by sheriffs in northern New Jersey, the Paterson police and the FBI, Speziale said. El-Atriss had not been under round-the-clock surveillance, sheriff's Lt. Robert Weston said. "The investigation, dubbed Operation Paper Trail, began after police in northern New Jersey started finding similar fake IDs, Speziale said. "Authorities were tipped to El-Atriss by a St. Paul, Minn., company after he contacted it about paying cash for a high-speed copier capable of embossing seals. "El-Atriss never bought the copier from Minnesota but contacted a Paterson company about a similar purchase, Speziale said. That compa[...]

Microsoft's Out the Window. When a company buys back more than $9 billion in overvalued stock, it's time to move on. [The Motley Fool]

Life in these Confederated States: Louisiana told to abstain from mix of church, state
"U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Porteous Jr. recently ruled on a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union that the Governor's Program on Abstinence broke the law in giving tax dollars intended for abstinence education to individuals or organizations that "convey religious messages or otherwise advance religion."

"Porteous found that some groups receiving GPA funds used the money to distribute Bibles, hold prayer rallies outside abortion clinics and perform religious skits. He ordered the state to stop subsidizing religious activities."